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Besides cooperation with an immediate benefit for both actors, this behavior appears to occur mostly between relatives. Since relatives share part of their genetic make-up, enhancing each other's chances of survival may actually increase the likelihood that the helper's genetic traits will be passed on to future generations. It involves two or more animals pulling rewards towards themselves via an apparatus they can not successfully operate alone.

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Some researchers assert that cooperation is more complex than this. They maintain that helpers may receive more direct, and less indirect, gains from assisting others than is commonly reported. Furthermore, they insist that cooperation may not solely be an interaction between two individuals but may be part of the broader goal of unifying populations. One specific form of cooperation in animals is kin selection, which can be defined as animals helping to rear a relative's offspring in order to enhance their own fitness.

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Different theories explaining kin selection have been proposed, including the "pay-to-stay" and "territory inheritance" hypotheses. The "pay-to-stay" theory suggests that individuals help others rear offspring in order to return the favor of the breeders allowing them to live on their land. The "territory inheritance" theory contends that individuals help in order to have improved access to breeding areas once the breeders depart. These two hypotheses both appear to be valid, at least in cichlid fish. Studies conducted on red wolves support previous researchers' [8] contention that helpers obtain both immediate and long-term gains from cooperative breeding.

Bertrand Russell - Wikiquote

These findings suggest that kin selection may not only benefit an individual in the long-term in terms of increased fitness but in the short-term as well through enhanced chance of survival. Some research even suggests that certain species provide more help to the individuals with which they are more closely related.

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This phenomenon is known as kin discrimination. They found that different species exhibited varying degrees of kin discrimination, with the largest frequencies occurring among those who have the most to gain from cooperative interactions. Cooperation is a process by which the components of a system work together to achieve the global properties. The phenomenon is generally known as 'emergence' and is considered an outcome of self-organization.

Does Studying Economics Inhibit Cooperation?

Understanding the mechanisms that create cooperating agents in a system is one of the most important and least well understood phenomena in nature, though there has not been a lack of effort. Individual action on behalf of a larger system may be coerced forced , voluntary freely chosen , or even unintentional, and consequently individuals and groups might act in concert even though they have almost nothing in common as regards interests or goals.

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    Cooperation - A Philosophical Study (Philosophical Studies Series)

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